San Diego urban farm grows food and self esteem for refugees
The garden not only gave them a way to contribute but gave them a way to shine.
By Jill Richardson
January 30, 2012
Imagine escaping from your farm in a war-riven part of Africa or Asia. You arrive in the U.S. What a relief! But you’ve replaced farming with asphalt and concrete of a U.S. city. Bewilderment, shock, all over again.
To help refugee farmers adjust, the International Rescue Committee started an urban farm in San Diego. It hired Amy Lint, then 31, to get New Roots Community Farm up and running.
She was a good choice — San Diego is home to many refugees from Cambodia and Somalia, and Lint knew rural Cambodia from her graduate work, and had been an aid worker with the Somali Bantu.
New Roots farm has thrived. It’s gone from five acres to 80, worked by 90 families, mainly from Cambodia, Somalia, Latin America and Burma. Lint’s work has been recognized by Michele Obama’s Let’s Move campaign with a visit from the First Lady herself.